Over the past few seasons, Tulane University Quarterback Michael Pratt has become a household name in college football circles, earning himself the opportunity to achieve his dream of being a Quarterback in the NFL.
Throughout his time in New Orleans, Pratt has cemented himself as one of Tulane’s all-time greats, including his breaking of the school's passing touchdown record. Last season, Pratt lead the Green Wave to a historic season, earning their first-ever American Athletic Conference (AAC) Championship and an upset victory over USC in the 2023 Goodyear Cotton Bowl.
Now, in what is presumed to be Pratt’s final season with the Green Wave, we had the chance to sit down with him and talk about his football journey, his mindset and why the Q-Collar has become a part of his equipment on the field.
When did you fall in love with football?
“I think I really fell in love with football my freshman year of high school. I mainly grew up playing basketball and baseball. I had never played football until 9th grade. That first practice of my freshman year was the moment I fell in love with the game. I loved being around the guys and the competitive nature of the sport. Getting to compete on the football field with them really started my passion for the sport.”
Were there any special moments from when you started playing that stuck with you?
“I don’t know if there’s one specific moment that stands out. Really just that whole year. A big moment for me was that freshman year, where I had played on the Junior Varsity team all season and when the JV season ended, I got moved up to the Varsity team. I got the chance to play in a few Varsity games that year, and that was something that I had a lot of fun doing.”
What are your goals and aspirations both at Tulane, and beyond?
“The goal right now is to just try and do everything that I can in order to help my team win this season and to try and accomplish more great things at Tulane. In the future, I’d love to play at the next level and just continue to make strides in my career.”
At what point did playing in the NFL become a goal for you?
“I think from a young age, I knew I wanted to play sports in general at a professional level whether that was basketball, baseball, or football. I think after my freshman year of high school, when I really fell in love with the game and developed a passion for it, is when I knew I wanted to be an NFL player.”
What is it that you love about the game of football?
“What I love about the game is just the daily grind of being a football player and the competitive nature of the game. I’m the youngest of four kids, and I think competition is something that I’ve been around my whole life. I love coming out here every day and getting after it so I can be the best that I can be, as well as pushing everyone else around me to be the best that they can be. I think also with a sport like football, the team camaraderie of it is special – Whether that’s being in the locker room with the guys, spending so much time with your teammates, and just getting to know them better. I think getting to know your teammates and their experiences teaches you a lot about other people’s perspectives and life in general.”
What does being a leader of the team as a quarterback mean to you?
“Being a quarterback is a lot of fun. There’s a lot of pressure on me at times, but one of my favorite things about it is the competitive nature of it. You get to have the ball in your hands every single snap, so you get to have a really big impact on what happens throughout the game. You really get to affect your teammates around you in a positive way. What you say and what you do is going to carry the entire team. On the flip side of that, if I come out here and have a sluggish day, everyone’s looking at you. Even if you’re exhausted, you have to carry your team in the right way, and you’ve got to get everybody going.”
What motivates you to push through those days that you have to power through?
“I think the biggest motivation for me is to win games. We came up early in the morning to come out here and work out butts off every single day. We’re really only guaranteed twelve games, so I think that to come out here and not give it your all for the two hours that you’re out here is a disservice to yourself and everybody else around you. We set a high standard for ourselves and when we’re out here, we get after it and give it all we’ve got.”
What is it going to take to get to where you’re trying to go?
“It’s going to take continuous discipline and making sacrifices for myself and all of the people around me. I have to come out here with the right mentality every day and lead my teammates. I have to put forth the attitude and effort. If I do that, I believe I’m in a position where everything else will take care of itself.”
How did you first discover the Q-Collar?
“I actually first discovered the Q-Collar after my sophomore year here at Tulane. My sophomore season, I had dealt with some injuries, and I was locked into finding how I can best protect myself and keep myself on the field. Throughout that offseason, I was doing a lot of research on it. One day, my mom and I were having a conversation about It, and we came across the Q-Collar. We did some more research on it, and later that offseason we ended up getting connected with Q-Collar where I got the chance to really learn more about it.”
How does your mom play a role into your wearing the Q-Collar and staying healthy going forward?
“My mom plays a huge role in that. Obviously as a mother, she wants me to be protected. That was one of the reasons why I didn’t play football as a child growing up. With all the research that we did to find a way to keep myself safe, she was very adamant in figuring something out to help protect my brain. I think it definitely gives my mom a lot of peace of mind because I know it does for me.”
How does the Q-Collar impact you and your game?
“The Q-Collar has a huge impact on my game. I think the biggest way is obviously physically it does its job of trying to protect me. As a quarterback you have to be mentally locked-in on your assignment throughout the game. The Q-Collar gives me peace of mind so I don’t have to think about whether I’m going to take a big hit or not, I can really dial in on my assignment. I can focus on the play clock, the defense, getting guys on my team lined up, going through my reads and my progressions. Having one less thing I need to worry about is really huge for me.”
What do you tell your teammates about the Q-Collar?
“I’ve told all my teammates about the Q-Collar. I’ve told them that if there’s anything that you can do to protect yourself, even if it’s just a one percent difference that it makes, I’m going to do it. There’s no downside to wearing the Q-Collar. It’s comfortable. It’s very low-profile. There’s no reason why I’d look at the Q-Collar and say that I wouldn’t wear it. Even if it’s just a one percent difference in protecting yourself, why wouldn’t you give yourself that?”
Why is wearing the Q-Collar important to your future as a football player?
“I think wearing the Q-Collar is super important for my future as a football player. Football is a very physical game, and there’s a lot of different injuries that can occur. Having the edge of wearing the Q-Collar and being one step ahead in protecting myself will help me over the course of my career and help allow me to play as many years as I can.”